The Schoolvision Assessment – how to help a child with reading difficulties

When a child or adult has difficulty reading, many people don’t realise that it’s often caused by vision problems, rather than an unwillingness to learn. It’s not always easy for children, in particular, to recognise or explain the problems they face, especially when they’re young, which is why it’s usually the responsibility of the adults caring for them to keep track of their progress and help if necessary.

If you’re wondering how to help a child with reading difficulties, our Schoolvision Assessment might be just the solution they need to overcome this. Our resident optometrist, Mohamed Kasmani, is accredited to provide this at our opticians in West London after having gained the Schoolvision Diploma and is a member of the Association of Schoolvision Practitioners.

How can you tell if someone has reading difficulties?

While some children simply don’t like reading and others would rather be playing computer games, sometimes, avoidance can be a result of learning or reading difficulties due to visual dysfunction. This may cause words to appear as though they are moving around on the page, and lines may even merge into one another, as both eyes try to focus on them instead of just the dominant eye and send confused messages to the brain.

Some other common signs include:

  • using a finger to trace along the text
  • complaints of headaches or eye strain after reading
  • frustration whilst reading
  • squinting
  • a reluctance to read
  • light sensitivity
  • behavioural issues

If left undiagnosed and untreated, these issues can affect their learning and development significantly, right into adulthood – which in turn impacts their self esteem and enjoyment of reading.

Schoolvision Assessment

A Schoolvision Assessment goes much further than a standard NHS eye exam to address visual problems that might be holding a child back from reaching their full potential in the classroom. It’s important to note that this is also completely open for adults with dyslexia, or those who struggle with reading, and may also help those with dyslexic symptoms or who are on the autistic spectrum.

Whilst an eye exam looks at eye health and a child’s prescription, what a Schoolvision Assessment looks at is how well your eyes are working together as a pair – something we refer to as binocular vision. It involves a series of tests to check:

  • history and symptoms in detail of difficulty at school or work
  • eye muscle balance
  • how stable the dominant eye is
  • the ability to focus for distance and reading clearly
  • how well the eyes can track a moving object
  • reading speed
  • colour preference
  • any issues with light sensitivity

The school vision or advanced binocular vision test looks at the relationship between binocular difficulties (how the eyes work together) and reading. It can be explained to determine whether your child or indeed yourself could benefit from special glasses lenses or contact lenses to aid their reading fluency and learning.

Mr Kasmani will always carry out a comprehensive eye exam during the initial appointment too, so any vision correction issues can be ruled out as a root cause of the problems outlined.

If Mr Kasmani concludes that you or a child could benefit from managing reading and learning difficulties via the Schoolvision scheme, he will recommend follow up appointments to monitor progress every 4 – 12 weeks in the beginning, and at least every 6 months afterwards. This will also give him the chance to tweak your prescription if necessary, as your eyes adjust to these therapeutic lenses.

This assessment is privately covered, but we want it to be accessible to everyone who needs it, which is why we offer an Eyeplan scheme to help spread out the cost of your payments with a small monthly fee. Anyone who joins will also get 30% off their Schoolvision glasses whilst on the scheme.

Schoolvision glasses or contact lenses may feature:

  • Lenses with 2 different strengths to focus clearly at distance and close up
  • A prescription specifically designed to help improve the focus for reading vision
  • Lenses to help any eye muscle imbalance
  • A precise tint that the individual has indicated removes any stark contrast on the page to help them to read more fluently

As your child goes through the Schoolvision scheme, you can expect to see improvements in areas including:

  • overall school performance
  • improvement in self confidence
  • better reading speed and accuracy
  • improvement in concentration
  • reduced headaches and eye strain
  • less behavioural issues

Get in touch

Your child, or indeed yourself don’t need to suffer in silence and resign yourself to the fact you will struggle with reading and learning forever. Mr Kasmani is one of the very few Schoolvision opticians in West London and has had many success stories from patients who have benefitted from the assessment and management scheme.

Don’t take our word for it though – our Google reviews speak for themselves!

“My daughter has struggled with reading since an early age, although we had her eyes tested at an opticians and she did need glasses we didn’t see a massive improvement. She was then diagnosed with visual dyslexia and we visited the Feltham Eyecare Centre. I hadn’t realised that your eyes can suffer with muscle imbalance etc. and my daughter had a thorough test. She has since been given the glasses she needs and we have been able to see a significant improvement.
Thank you Feltham Eyecare!”
Bron & Rich

“My son has been under the care of Dr Kasmani for his short sight and challenges in reading (dyslexia). He was recommended the school vision and the lenses at night to correct his vision in the day time. He then got the school vision glasses (tinted lenses) for his school vision. I have already seen 50% improvement in his speed of reading. Heard his confidence soar to new heights, with him now being able to read the words that for all of his primary school years often had him in tears. I am very grateful for Dr Khan’s patience and his and his staff professional service. If your child is struggling with focusing, reading this might be an option to explore. Happy child, Happy Mum.” – Sharon Davis

For more information or advice on the Schoolvision Assessment, contact our team and we’ll be happy to talk you through it in more detail.